There are around 9 million RVs on the road in the U.S. – a huge number. But there are also those who want to stay in RV parks but do not own a recreational vehicle. And this market is growing as a larger percentage of Millennials enter this space. So what are the options?
A growing trend with many travelers is to rent an RV. Why? There are several reasons: 1) they want to test out the concept before buying one 2) they can’t afford the payments on an RV at this point 3) they like the freedom of being able to rent the RV and not have to worry about maintaining or storing it the rest of the time and 4) they can rent a nicer RV than they can afford to buy right now. Whatever the reason, these customers are just the same as those who own their own RV and should be welcomed with open arms.
One tip to bolster the word-of-mouth advertising for your RV park with these folks is to understand that they often have no experience in driving, parking, connecting utilities and all other duties of the RV owner. So help them out. If you show them the ropes in a friendly way they will return and tell all their friends of your virtues.
These are also known as “cabins” in some properties and they are rigid dwellings that arrive typically on skids and never move again. They are rented by the night and offer a bedroom, living area and full-sized bathroom with all the comforts of home. They are normally located on the edge of a lake or some other feature that cannot be used for traditional RVs to park. There are two types of customers for this product: 1) those that like the RV park environment but don’t own or want to own an RV and 2) those that are not really typically RV park customers but are those to meet up with others in RVs (often a family reunion or similar event). One final group – but in a much smaller number – are former RV owners that are now disabled and cannot get in and out of an RV but can have access to a park model.
These customers are looking for a pleasant stay and the best thing you can do to attract them is to be very helpful on the phone like a hotel and also maintain these units in a very clean and charming manner.
I know a wealthy couple that, when on the road, like to camp. They could afford to stay in a 4-star hotel but instead relish the excitement and outdoor cooking of a nice campsite. They are not alone in this desire. RV park lots can also be used for camping (although often designated for this use) and this is a growing crowd with younger Millennials. A recent RV park study found that the #1 attraction is outdoor cooking – and you don’t need an RV to cook on an open fire.
To appeal to this market, you should have a well-stocked store to supply the needs of people who bring very little with them. It won’t hurt to even have camping equipment ready to be sold in the event something breaks or is forgotten.
RV parks are focused on RV owners, yet there are more participants in the RV lifestyle than those who simply own them. Smart owners understand these additional revenue sources and do their best to ingratiate these customers and build a positive network of supporters.